The President cannot be allowed to remain silent on what transpired at her office between the Prime Minister and the former head of the Police Service Commission that led to the withdrawal of a Merit List that was already submitted.
The United National Congress (UNC) is calling for the President to break her silence on this matter and is reiterating its call for the Prime Minister to explain his meeting with former Police Service Commission chair Bliss Seepersad.
The Opposition has now added to its previous calls and is now demanding that former Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi resigns from his new post.
Both calls stem from newspaper reports over the past few days in which Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley confirmed that he met with Seepersad and gave her information pertinent to the PolSC’s Police Commissioner Merit List.
Speaking under the banner, “How Keith Rowley dismantled the Police Service,” MP for Chaguanas West Dinesh Rambally and San Juan/Barataria MP Saddam Hosein again accused the PM of misbehaviour in public office.
Hosein read the President’s first and only statement on the matter, which said that the Merit List was handed in and withdrawn immediately.
“Nobody knew who that public official was. In fact, the President in her statement said that it was none of our business for her to disclose who meets with her,” Hosein said.
“It was after the Paria incident, the Prime Minister so desperately looking for a distraction, disclosed that he was the “high-ranking” public official who met with Ms Bliss Seepersad that day at the President’s House. Now, what does that mean?” Hosein asked.
He said that even though the PM provided information about Griffith which called the Merit List to be withdrawn, he was still nominated to be acting Commissioner of Police by the same PolSC.
“So one now has to ask the question, how did the Prime Minister know that Ms Bliss Seepersad was about to deliver the list to the President? Did the Prime Minister have knowledge beforehand that Mr Gary Griffith was on top of that list or did the Prime Minister get that information after the list was submitted to Her Excellency and thereafter met with Bliss Seepersad,” Hosein asked.
Hosein alluded to private conversations between the Prime Minister and the PolSC. Hosein said that press releases are not answering these questions and called for the police to get involved to investigate and the matter should be brought before the court.
On the matter of Al-Rawi, Hosein cited an article that reported the former AG wrote to the Chief Justice to get his right-hand lawyer suspended for insubordination.
Hosein said that Al-Rawi attempted to get his Chief Parliamentary Counsel just before he was removed from office.
Rambally said that the PM said he passed on some “pertinent” information to Seepersad and said that while some people did not see anything wrong with that, there were far-reaching consequences.
“Well, everything is wrong with this. That might be the surface picture but what lurks beneath is a festering wound that has the potential to inflict severe damage to our democracy,” he said.
Rambally echoed previous UNC critics and said that the Prime Minister could have waited until the Merit List was brought to Parliament for debate and made his position on then CoP Gary Griffith clear.
“By his own admission, Dr Rowley has said he has had problems with Gary Griffith,” Rambally, adding that according to Griffith, that problem was that he (Griffith) did not take instructions from the PM to hire foreign lawyers to make a case against members of the Opposition.
“Is that not high-ranking, self-serving, political expediency on the part of the Prime Minister?” Rambally asked.